How to Find Unused IPv4 Addresses

unused-IPv4-addresses

 

Why should it matter that there are still unused IPv4 addresses when IPv6 is available? Especially when IPv6 will run off a 128-bit system and essentially is believed to never run out of space.

It is simple; switching to IPv6 is not as easy as flipping a switch. It is difficult and takes time and is expensive.

Many companies were assigned and stockpiled an enormous amount of IPv4 addresses not knowing exactly how many they would need. Now those corporations hold numerous unused IPv4 assets.

A Market for Unused IPv4 Addresses

Even with the rollout of IPv6, there is still a market for unused IPv4 addresses.

According to some resources, Asia-Pacific is the primary source of IPv4 numbers and the secondary source is legacy. Between 1983 and 1987 of early registration, 1.4 billion numbers were given out. The way the numbers played out, meant that many organizations were neck in neck with as much space as APNIC with many of them not being used at all.

While Class A Space is used up, there is unused space in class B and roughly over 8k spaces that are not in use, with over 6k companies.

If this makes you wonder how this all became, in the early 1990’s many addresses were given out freely just to help make the internet a success. It was quite easy to get a frame-relay E1/T1 or ISDN connection by filling out a simple form. If a company had more than 240 hosts, they were automatically classified as Class B/16. Think about how many years ago this actually was. Twenty-eight years ago! If the company even exists right now, what is the chance that there is even a record of the space allocated? Probably slim. More than likely the business is dissolved and out of business. If this is the case, these are clean, unused IPv4 blocks that do not have reverse DNS. If this is true facts, there could be a huge source of IPv4 addresses waiting to be unveiled.

 

How to find unused IPv4 addresses

The first tip to find unused IPv4 addresses is to find a reputable partner that can facilitate your needs for IPv4 space. Buying and selling between private parties have become the best solution to the free address depletion saga. With so many numbers unused or utilized, hiring a qualified partner that can put you in touch with a buyer or seller, is often better than going at it alone.

Before you set out to buy addresses, you should be familiar with a few crucial points of interest.

  • Find a partner that has a trusted name in the industry and understands the process with your local registry
  • Acquire legal counsel. These negotiations can be similar to a large asset purchase. The legal jargon can leave an inexperienced buyer feeling quite overwhelmed. 
  • Price – What is your total costs per block of address.
  • Transaction Fees – What will the transaction fees be from start to finish.
  • Brokerage and Bank Fees – Get it in writing on any bank or transfer fee. Use only well-known trusted escrow banking services.
  • Above all else, be mindful of fraud. Do due diligence to protect yourself.

Buying IPv4 Addresses

buying Ipv4 unused addresses

Every Region has their own process for facilitating the transfer of IPv4 space from one organization to another. 

 

RIPE Transfer Process

  1. If the buyer is an LIR member in good standing with RIPE NCC, they do not require a pre-approval for IPv4 transfers.
  2. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) might be signed to protect both the buyer and seller’s confidential matters.
  3. The buyer must thoroughly inspect the IPv4 address the seller has to offer.
  4. Both parties must sign an asset purchase agreement (APA). A legal contract defining all terms and conditions. It is vital to seek legal counsel when making such contracts.
  5. Include detailed payment terms in the APA. A payment mechanism such as an escrow account, a letter of credit or a solicitors account must be in place for the buyer to make his/her payments.
  6. RIPE uses a Transfer Agreement and Company Registration paper to make the transfer complete. RIPE will then update the registry of IPs.
  7. After payment is complete, the seller will provide the buyer with documentation of the final sale.
  8. Now, the buyer can announce their IP address on the internet.

ARIN and APNIC Transfer Process: 

  1. APNIC and ARIN requires buyers to get pre-approval on a 24-month needs basis.
  2. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) should ideally be signed to protect both the buyer and seller’s confidential matters.
  3. The buyer must thoroughly inspect the IPv4 address the seller has to offer.
  4. Both parties must sign an asset purchase agreement (APA). A legal contract defining all terms and conditions. It is vital to seek legal counsel when making such contracts.
  5. Include detailed payment terms in the APA. A payment mechanism such as an escrow account, a letter of credit or a solicitors account must be in place for the buyer to make his/her payments. If agreed upon by both parties, they can also choose payment after transfer.
  6. APNIC/ARIN releases the IPs to the buyer only after: the seller releases the IPs, buyer accepts them, and APNIC/ARIN bills the buyer. 
  7. After the transfer is complete, the seller will receive payment.
  8. After payment is complete, the seller will provide the buyer with documentation of the final sale.
  9. Now, the buyer can announce their IP address on the internet.